DEAR MISS MANNERS: Over a century ago, when my grandmother had a heart attack, she gathered her children and their spouses and handed out her valuables because she didn’t want to worry about making a will.
When she gave her jewelry to her daughters, she said she would like to see them wear it while she was alive. When she gave coins to her sons, on the other hand, she said that the coins were for their children – no mention of their wives wearing any.
Over the years, my mom and her siblings have questioned whether her intention was to snub her daughters-in-law or to send the message that these coins should stay in the family. They (and us, the grandchildren) decided to be charitable and assume she just wanted to make sure the coins stay with the family.
At this point, if a family member needed to sell any of these coins, it was offered to the family first.
Today, I am the mother of two sons and the grandmother of several boys and girls. I own several of these jewels, either by inheritance from my mother or by buying them from my cousins.
What’s the most diplomatic way to give them to my daughters-in-law to enjoy while I’m alive while making sure they stay with the family? My sons are aware of the family tradition, but one of my DILs made it clear that she believed my grandmother’s intention was to snub her daughters-in-law and that once offered to her , she will take care of the jewelry as she pleases.
SOFT READER: As interesting as the backstory is, your stepdaughter made your decision easier. You want the jewelry to stay in the family, but you can’t really tax it once it leaves your possession. So don’t give it to the rebellious daughter-in-law.
If she is against it, you can explain to her that it is important for you to honor your grandmother’s desire to stay with the family. You may think (but not say) that it might also honor your grandmother’s desire to insult stepdaughters.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: One of my colleagues is getting married. One day she has a church wedding followed by a cake. The next day, she organizes a civil ceremony and a large reception.
I am invited to the wedding / church cake. Most of my other colleagues are invited to both events. What is the protocol for this invitation?
SOFT READER: Guests respond politely to invitations they receive, either affirmatively or negatively, depending on their schedule (and, sometimes, their desires).
Sounds simple to Miss Manners, assuming your question wasn’t rather how to express your displeasure at being left out of the cake on day two of the festivities. Since she has no way of accomplishing this with proper manners, she’s glad you didn’t ask.
Please direct questions to Miss Manners on her website, www.missmanners.com; to his e-mail, [email protected]; or by regular mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.